Getting the Most out of a Radio Psychic

 In Blog

Lots of morning shows have tried putting a psychic on their show, with mixed results. Sure, you’ll get a zillion callers jamming the lines wanting to ask fascinating questions like, “Should I move to Albuquerque?” or “When will I meet someone?”

But while the phones are full, are other people even interested in hearing about a stranger’s career in textiles or where their missing earring is? Does having a psychic on your show actually hurt your ratings?

The short answer is “Probably.” A longer answer is “Probably, but it doesn’t have to.”

For about 20 years, I’ve had a psychic on my show. Not too often. Maybe once a month or so. His name is Gary Spivey, and he’s more than just a psychic, he’s an entertainer. He gets how to hold people’s attention and for the most part, he knows when the move on from one caller to the next.

I’ll admit, some people really don’t like when we have him on. “That guy’s so full of shit! What a fraud!”

But others just love him. Gary’s so good and has earned such a reputation on our show that he’s able to ask about $1000 an hour for a private reading. And he gets it!

I watch the meters when Gary is on. Sometimes they’re flat, but most of the time they go up and stay there for the hour that he’s on. If he lost meters for us, I don’t care how busy the phones are, he’d be gone in a flash.

Here are a few tips I’ve learned over the years that will help to assure your psychic brings in more listeners than he or she chases away.

-Don’t just put any psychic on. Ask for audio of them on another radio show and ask yourself, “Are they entertaining?” If they’ve never been on the radio before, spend some time with them, at least on the phone and get a vibe for their personality. If there is none, pass.

-Keep their on-air segment short, maybe a couple of breaks the first time, to see if you like them.

-Screen your callers like you’ve never screened before in your life. This is key. Most of the calls you get will be boring for other people to listen to: “What career should I pursue?” “When will I get pregnant?” “What will I have, a boy or a girl?” And the god-awful, “What do you see for me in the future?”. None of those is interesting to anyone but the person asking.

Instead, try to judge them on whether you would be interested in hearing the answer. Example: “Someone stole my wedding ring. I think it was my son’s friend, but I can’t prove it.” Or, “My grandpa never came back from the Vietnam War. Can you tell me what happened to him?” Or, “There’s a woman who is claiming she is pregnant with my husband’s baby. Is it really his?”

-Don’t be afraid to be slightly rude to the callers you reject. Your job is to put great questions on the radio, not to make buddies with each caller.

-Before the segment, explain in a friendly way on the air, “Here’s the kinds of questions we won’t be able to answer. So if that was your question, then think of another one and call us.”

-Accept text message and email questions as well. A lot of time the phones are jammed with lame questions so now you’ll have other sources to choose from.

-Sound enthused and believing about the psychic. If they get anything right, express a little amazement. If you believe, the audience will believe.

-Make sure your psychic doesn’t linger too long on one caller, or take too long to come up with an answer. I had a pet psychic on once who literally would respond to a question with “Um, ahhhhhh, let’s see. Um….Okay…” before they got to the answer. She was on my show exactly one time.

-If the psychic has a phone number or website, you plug it, not them. If they plug it, it sounds like a hack selling some worthless service. When you plug it, it sounds like you’re enthusiastic about it.

-Don’t be afraid to take sad questions. They can be very powerful. But stay away from anything that involves accusations of sexual abuse or assault. Trust me, you’ll get them, and they ain’t fun. After all, this segment should be mostly fun. And slightly amazing.

After the segment, look for feedback on Facebook or texting to see what people thought. Remember, there will be haters.

But if it works out, you’ve got a great staple of your show and a great addition to your brand.


Photo Credit: Ross Griff/Flickr

Leave a Comment

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.